24th - 26th August 2018
Power, Politics, Passion

Amy Gottlieb

Amy's debut novel The Beautiful Possible was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award.

Her fiction and poetry have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. She is the recipient of a Literary Arts Fellowship and Residency from the Bronx Writers Center, two BRIO Awards from the Bronx Council on the Arts, an Arts Fellowship from Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, and was a finalist for the Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize.

Amy is a graduate of Clark University and the University of Chicago. She lives in New York City.


Canberra Writers Festival events

Grasping the Past

Girl with a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier joins award-winning writer and documentary maker Rachel Seiffert and new literary star Amy Gottlieb in this fascinating session on how they interpret, reimagine and explore history through literature. Hosted by Gillian Polack.

Friday 25th August 2017, 2:30pm. Conference Room, Level 4, National Library of Australia.
Tickets: Adult $24.00; Concession $21.95; Junior $11.75


Amy Gottlieb in conversation with Elizabeth Kostova

Amy Gottlieb’s epic, enthralling and shimmering debut novel The Beautiful Possible follows a post-war love triangle between an American rabbi, his wife, and a German-Jewish refugee spanning seventy years and several continents.

Saturday 26th August 2017, 1:00pm. Liangis Theatre, National Portrait Gallery.
Tickets: Adult $24.00; Concession $21.95; Junior $11.75 


About the book

Spanning seventy years and several continents—from a refugee’s shattered dreams in 1938 Berlin, to a discontented American couple in the 1950s, to a young woman’s life in modern-day Jerusalem—this epic, enthralling novel tells the braided love story of three unforgettable characters. In 1946, Walter Westhaus, a German Jew who spent the war years at Tagore’s ashram in India, arrives at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where he meets Sol Kerem, a promising rabbinical student. A brilliant nonbeliever, Walter is the perfect foil for Sol’s spiritual questions—and their extraordinary connection is too wonderful not to share with Sol’s free-spirited fiancée Rosalie. Soon Walter and Rosalie are exchanging notes, sketches, and secrets, and begin a transcendent love affair in his attic room, a temple of dusty tomes and whispered poetry. Months later they shatter their impossible bond, retreating to opposite sides of the country—Walter to pursue an academic career in Berkeley and Rosalie and Sol to lead a congregation in suburban New York. A chance meeting years later reconnects Walter, Sol, and Rosalie—catching three hearts and minds in a complex web of desire, heartbreak, and redemption. With extraordinary empathy and virtuosic skill, The Beautiful Possible considers the hidden boundaries of marriage and faith, and the mysterious ways we negotiate our desires.

The Beautiful Possible is published by HarperCollins Publishers.

Buy this book from the festival's bookshop partner Dymocks.


More reading

The Woman at the Kitchen Table, Jewish Book Council, February 2016. [blog]

I. B. Singer and the Hidden Afikomen, Jewish Book Council, February 2016. [blog]

The Rabbi Whisperer Ponders the Sermon, Jewish Book Council, February 2016. [blog]

How to Spend Our Days: Amy Gottlieb, Catching Days, November 2016. [blog]


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